I just had a nice conversation with a student and a colleague who is a specialist in eastern religions. I learned that there is a variety of Japanese Buddhism that uses the preparation and drinking of tea as a meditative practice. I like that. As a lifelong tea-drinker and abstainer from coffee I have long been appreciative of Nietzsche’s remarks
on the superiority of tea. So Buddhism and materialistic atheism both have their proponents of tea.
“Coffee spreads darkness.”
This makes me long for a Christian account of the spiritual significance of tea, or Christian advice for drinking tea as a spiritual practice. Christianity certainly has the theological resources for this sort of thing, and I’m sure someone has written on it. But I don’t know where to find it, and it seemed easier to write something myself. So let’s start with the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:
“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1984 NIV).
Tea: God’s idea.
From this we learn that God invented tea, and that it is good. So here is my advice for drinking tea Christianly. Prepare your tea carefully and reflectively, remembering the doctrines that God created the world and that God is good. As you drink your tea, be grateful for your tea, and say a prayer of thanks to God for inventing it and letting you share in His good idea.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)